Brooklyn overcame an early deficit to win the first game of the season on Friday night, beating Staten Island by a score of 5-3.
Starting pitcher Yohan Almonte (1-0) earned the win with 5.0 innings of work. He allowed three runs in the first inning, but settled in to hold the Yankees scoreless the rest of the way. Almonte (pictured, by George Napolitano) allowed six hits and one walk, while striking out three. Hamilton Bennett followed with 2.0 one-hit innings, and Mitch Houck tossed 1.2 one-hit frames of his own. Houck ran into trouble in the bottom of the ninth, and left with the bases loaded and two outs, but Brian Needham came on to get the final out on a ground ball, and earn his first save of the year. Cyclones pitchers allowed eight total hits and five walks, while striking out seven Yankees.
Offensively, the Cyclones were led by CF Darrell Ceciliani, RF Cory Vaughn, and DH Will Cherry. Ceciliani had two hits and Vaughn and Cherry had two RBI each. The trio put Brooklyn on the board in the third inning, when Cherry singled with the bases loaded to bring home Ceciliani and Vaughn.
In the sixth inning, C Juan Centeno laced a one-out single, followed by a double off the bat of SS Rylan Sandoval. With two outs and runners on second and third, Ceciliani dropped a bunt single that plated Centeno and tied the game. Ceciliani then stole second base, and Vaughn singled to drive in the two runners and put Brooklyn ahead for good.
"That was a big at-bat in his first professional game," said Wally Backman, of Vaughn's go-ahead RBI. "He comes from a great program (San Diego State University), where he played for a great head coach (Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn). He knows how to play the game."
When asked about the bunt that turned the tide of the game, Backman explained that "I'll take advantage of what I see out there. We're going to do the little things it takes to win. We'll steal, hit and run, squeeze -- we'll put a lot of pressure on the other team."
The Cyclones return to MCU Park on Saturday night for the team's home opener, when they will again face the Yankees, with first pitch slated for 6pm.
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